By John Bevan

An ex Ireland national American football coach took the first training session for the newly formed Kingston Cougars on Tuesday night and nearly 80 budding players turned up.

Former Ireland Coach takes first American football session

Phil De Monte, from New York, who had previously been in charge of the Irish and Welsh national teams headed a gruelling session full of intense workouts with Kingston students at Tolworth Sports Ground. Coach De Monte had been approached by President Vaz Korochenko and Vice President Greg Linden at the end of last term about coaching the team.

“I spoke to the guys before I took the role on, and they were a great bunch. I’m impressed with the turnout tonight and hopefully we can get seven or eight games by the end of the year,” said De Monte. 

This is the first year there will be an individual Kingston American Football team as previously it was a joint venture with the Surrey Stingers.

Korochenko said: “It was fantastic to see how many people turned up.  We hope to play our first two games at the end of November.”

De Monte, who has also spent time with the Oxford Cavaliers at Oxford Brookes University, was very excited at the prospect of taking on the challenge of a new team and was impressed at the level of enthusiasm shown by the players.

De Monte has also pinpointed the Portsmouth Destroyers as the team to beat and that he wants the sport to be as popular as it can at the University.  “We’ll look to set up a rivalry with Royal Holloway as they’re just down the road and then take things from there.”

Training for American Football is every Tuesday night from 8-10 o’clock at Tolworth Sports Ground. 

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